How to save a life: ‘27% of women who die in childbirth can be saved by blood transfusions’

Nearly 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth related complications every day.


Our Correspondent May 29, 2014
“Blood loss at the time of delivery should be minimized,” said Dr Shazia Masheer from the hospital’s gynecology department. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: A timely blood transfusion can save the lives of more than 27% of women who die while giving birth, said medical experts while speaking at a public awareness session titled, ‘Safe Blood for Saving Mothers’ held at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) on Wednesday.

“Blood loss at the time of delivery should be minimized,” said Dr Shazia Masheer from the hospital’s gynecology department. “Some women could suffer from postpartum hemorrhage and should give birth at hospitals.”

While sharing some statistics, Dr Masheer said that the lowest mortality rate was recorded in Punjab and the highest was in Balochistan. The overall mortality rate, she said, was going down but added that it has to be improved.



Quoting data from the World Health Organization, Dr Masheer said that nearly 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth related complications every day. She added that most of these deaths usually occurred in developing countries.

Discussing blood donations, doctors said that there were several things they considered before accepting a donation - including age, weight, occupation, interval between two donations or an illness.

“We take a complete history of the donor before taking the blood,” said Dr Muhammad Shariq Shaikh, a haematologist. “A safe blood donor can save three lives with a single unit of donated blood.” He added that the minimum age of the donor should not be below 18 while the maximum age should be 70.

He also gave advice on why pregnant women should not donate blood and a donor should not give blood more than three times a year.

“Safety should be ensured from the donor to the recipient,” said Dr Farheen Karim, a senior instructor of department of pathology and microbiology at AKUH. “It is also important to educate donors.”

According to the data provided, the AKUH Blood Bank caters to the needs of all patients at the hospital - this includes the main campus and its four secondary hospitals. Around 50,000 to 60,000 blood transfusions are carried out every year. 


Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2014.

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